Friday, December 19, 2014

Anon Sir Anon

Since I have been silent on here for a couple of months I have so many books that I need to review. However, after some thought, I shall do the book I was going to review first. And, hopefully, since it is winter break and I should have more time on my hands, I can soon write the other one I was thinking about.


What is this book? It is the lovely blogger Rachel Heffington's second novel. And folks, it is wonderful. Anon Sir Anon is the first of the Vivi and Farnham mysteries. (Yes, it is going to be a series! I love getting into series. You really get to know the characters that way.)

It is one of those delightful "cozy" murder mysteries. (Why is a murder cozy? Well, I think you know what I mean.) It is set in an English village post WWI. 1930's, I believe. Farnham is an eccentric old Shakespearean actor. He has been experiencing rather ill health lately, so his niece, Genevieve Langley, is sent to take care of him. Vivi is expecting to have a quiet time out in the country with her old uncle, but little does she know he is quite the amateur detective. And there is a murder to solve, and it's up to Vivi and Farnham to figure it out.

No matter how I write or describe it, the plot and story will sound a little old and familiar. Maybe you think such Agatha Christie mysteries have been beaten to death. Oh, but you would be wrong. This book, while being your "typical" cozy English murder mystery, is satirical and witty and fun! And though I did think of the suspect, I pushed the thought right out of my mind because it seemed impossible and I did not want to be right.

There were clues, but the murderer was not obvious. In fact, sometimes the lines get crossed and you are almost certain (along with Vivi) that it is somebody else. I really don't know how to review this without giving too much away. Therefore, I am going to stop talking about the plot and stick to the quirky cast of characters.

First, there is Farnham. He is a Shakespearean actor living in an old, dilapidated manor. He often quotes Shakespeare and is eccentric and grumpy. (Not truly grumpy, you understand, as that wouldn't be fun; rather, he is characteristically grouchy but really lovely underneath such crustiness.)

His friend, Dr. Breen, the lovely eternal bachelor who is charming and rough. He and Farnham have been friends forever, and he is the one who brings the murder cases to Farnham. They have an ongoing bet that Farnham cannot solve the case before the local police. (A bet the doctor has always lost.) I was smiling at his rough but kindly ways, and I think he and Farnham make the perfect companions.

Now to the other titular character, Genevieve Langley. I loved Vivi! She is not pretty (no, not even in the classic L.M. Montgomery way of saying a character isn't pretty and than making her an uncommon beauty.) Vivi's attraction stems from her wit and vivacity. I think I am going to love seeing her and her Uncle's relationship grow as the series goes on.

I really can't describe the other characters, for fear I may give something away. Let me just say that the man Vivi thought quite awful and pegged for a murderer was not attractive, but I honestly thought she was seeing him in a rather harsher light than need be.

Stanley Kubrick 1940s New York a.k.a me ;)
(Book time period-ish. I think Vivi would be a big reader like her Uncle :) )

I loved Whistlecreig, the quirky characters, the Jeeves-like butler, and... oh, just Rachel's style. She can always make me smile. And think as well, though she hides her serious thoughts under wit and mirth. If this is any indication of the books to come, I shall be eagerly awaiting all the adventures of Vivi and Farnham! I would highly recommend, as this book is especially good when read curled up under a blanket with tea on a cold day.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

I was hesitant to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. In my freshman year I picked up Jane Eyre, and I liked it but not as much as I thought I would. Some parts of the book were truly very interesting, but I could not relate to any of the characters. Perhaps if I was a more... emotional.....? I think that is the word I am looking for, so if I had been a more emotional person I would have related to Jane better. And every single person Jane or I had ever liked died. What is up with that?! And though Mr. Rochester is the dark and brooding type, I have decided that really is not my type. (Sorry to any people who staunchly love Mr. Rochester!)

I assumed that all of the Bronte sisters came of the same ilk in literature. After just hearing about Wuthering Heights and all its dark drama and death, I believed myself correct.

So with some trepidation I read this novel. I was surprised from the very beginning. For it started in a quiet English village, from the perspective of a civilized farmer named Gilbert Markham. It went on to describe the mysterious widow who had become the new tenant of.... you guessed it, Wildfell Hall. :)

Thorughout Gilbert's narrative, I was struck by the amusing satirical tone of the piece. The villagers were all agog over the new tenant, they were silly and base when compared to her, and they very quickly turned on her when the latest gossip came along. It was almost Jane Austen-ish in the beginning.

About halfway through the piece, we switch perspectives. The book is now an epistolary novel, with diary entries written by Helen, the tenant, to explain her mysterious past and her present mysterious actions toward Gilbert. (Who, not surprisingly, has fallen head over ears in love with her, as they would have said at the time.)

Helen's narrative starts off happily. Indeed, she is a spirited, happy little thing, jesting with her aunt over her matrimonial choices. She enters into London society with a swirl of gaiety and parties and beaus. But one beau stand out. At first, I rather liked him, but I was always concerned, for he didn't seem like the type who would suit Helen. 

I was right. More so even than I wanted to be. There were some extreme red flags during their courtship that Helen chose to completely ignore. She thought she could reform him. After all, she is his "angel." This proves to be... not the case, as you could guess. She cannot reform him. He was brought up in laziness, selfishness, vanity, and vice and he wishes to stay that way. Then he has some extreme,,, indiscretions, and I, as the reader was screaming for Helen to take her child and get out of there! 

But since her character is how she is, the time is what it is, and the role of women was what it was, that was not possible. So she went on living in that awful house for several more years. But everyone has their limit, and finally Helen reached hers. I cheered when she finally became the Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

To see if her husband follows her, to see if she and Gilbert can ever be together, and to find out if it is even possible for Helen to have a semblance of happily ever after, read the book. I think it is really good. It is not light social satire like Austen, nor frothy romance like Georgette Heyer, but it is not dark depressing Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights-ish. It is a perfect in between, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

So don't judge a book by it's cover. Or it's sister's books..... but I believe the cover shown is a very pretty one, wouldn't you say so?

Now, have any of you ever read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? Jane Eyre? Both? What did you think?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

In Which I discuss books, music, and movies

Okay, so it has been a little bit. And, sadly, this post is not going to be a review. It is going to be.... miscellaneous? I'm really not sure what to call it.

First, I would like to start out by telling you guys how UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED I AM. Why am I excited? Only because three books I have been looking forward to are coming out soon! Yes, you heard that right.... THREE NEW BOOKS.

Here they are (in order of date being published):

September 2, 2014

This is the newest installment in the comfy, cozy, Father Tim Mitford series. I am looking forward to catching up with Father Tim, Cynthia, Dooley, and the rest of my "old friends." 

While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion.
His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion—for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Dooley’s brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother’s abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim’s prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business.
All this as Wanda’s Feel Good CafĂ© opens, a romance catches fire through an Internet word game, their former mayor hatches a reelection campaign to throw the bums out, and the weekly Muse poses a probing inquiry: Does Mitford still take care of its own?
Millions of fans will applaud the chance to spend time, once more, in the often comic and utterly human presence of Jan Karon’s characters. Indeed, they have never been more sympathetic, bighearted, and engaging.

October 20, 2014, obviously

I am actually REALLY excited about this one; I am not sure I can even wait.... I might explode. This book is going to be much different than my usual literary tastes, but.... it sounds awesome. And Jennifer Freitag is awesome. Here blog is awesome. Therefore, I am hoping this book is awesome as well. I read her first book, the Shadow Things, and really liked it. I can't wait to see how her skills have been even more fine toned in this upcoming novel. (To read snippets, details, etc. go to her blog and click on the Plenilune tag.)

The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war. To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her. 
En route to Naples to catch a suitor, Margaret Coventry was not expecting a suitor to catch her.

November 5, 2014
I love Rachel Heffington's first novel Fly Away Home, and I am really excited for Anon, Sir, Anon. It is an old fashioned British murder mystery, quirky villagers and all! So I am really excited about it. :)

In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets.

When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door.

Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime.


The Civil Wars (especially Poison & Wine)

Tenth Avenue North (especially... everything. :))

Clair de Lune by Debussy

Pride & Prejudice Soundtrack 2005 (especially Daydreams)

Collide by Howie Day (especially the Anne and Gilbert version. Go look it up on YouTube. I think you are going to like it!)


Dead Poets Society: So I watched this last night, and it was... interesting. It was different than I thought it would be. It was thought provoking, and it was rather tough. I may have a more coherent review later, but then again, maybe not. Some ideas and impressions just stick in my brain, half-formed, only really felt, not easily expressed. This is why I have difficulty in English class. They love for you to dissect, describe, and pretty much rip an idea to shreds. Which, I am sure, is a good exercise, but hard to put into practice. My head is full of half-formed, baby thoughts, too fragile or too rough to behold in the harsh light of day. That sounds rather silly, but that really is how it is. Do you all ever have that kind of thought? (Or thoughts?)

So I have a confession to make: I have never liked poetry. I really actually hate it. I know, shame on me. For three consecutive years my English teachers have taken a unit to introduce students to good poetry, teach them how to appreciate it, analyze it, dissect it, and altogether absorb it. And I was having none of that. I was sure after each unit that I would never want to read poetry on my own. But, now I kind of do. Because, if I only had ever read books through what the school assigns, I daresay I would think I disliked reading....

So what poems/poets/books do you guys recommend (especially for a beginner! Especially for someone who has disliked poetry in the past...) I have no idea where to begin, and I'm hoping for some recommendations. Also, if anyone has some good tips on how to read/understand/really digest poetry, I am all ears. Thanks in advance! :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunshine Award

I have been nominated by Hamlette for the Sunshine Award. So I have to answer five questions:
1.  What is the next book you plan to read?
I plan to read Corrie ten Boom's book The Hiding Place. I have heard good things about that book, but I am hesitant to start it because I know it'll be sad. :(

2.  Have you ever seen the same movie in the theater more than once?
Hmm... nope. I actually don't go to the theater that much, period. I watch more old movies than new ones.

3.  Do you prefer pirates or cowboys?
Hmm... Cowboys. Pirates would rob me and sink my ship. Cowboys are usually good and they are country, so they would probably have a sweet Southern drawl. :)

4.  Have you ever been to an ocean?
Yes, in fact I just came back from a trip to Hilton Head Island, SC... so beautiful! We watched the sunset on the beach every night and there were always dolphins nearby where we were staying. 

5.  You're casting a new movie version of your favorite book.  Who are your top choices for the leads?

Hmm... I can't think of any improvements I would want to make of the movie version of Anne of Green Gables with Meagan Follows, so I shall choose another favorite book. I'll pick a trilogy. And I don't care if that is "cheating." It's my blog. :)

The Mark of the Lion series: (If I were choosing my dream cast)

Emmy Rossum

Marcus Valerian

Julia Valerian
Ryan Newman

Chris Hemsworth

Gemma Arterton

Amanda Seyfried

Logan Learman

Ian Somerhalder

Emilia Clarke

Dr. Alexander
Emanuele Bosi

Here are just some of the characters and how I envisioned them to be. I got these pictures and ideas from some Mark of the Lion dream cast Pinterest boards I'm following, so the credit really goes to them. :)
I know I haven't done Julia's 1st or 3rd husband, Decimus, Bato, Theophilus, Ania, and other characters (there are a lot!) but I tried my best. 
Man I wish this was a real movie!!! Are there any Hollywood directors reading my blog (haha)? Cause we could make this thing happen :)

Well this was fun! Thanks for nominating me Hamlette.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Review of Stepping Heavenward

Stepping Heavenward is an amazing book! I am surprised I haven't heard about it before now. It is in my favorite time period 1800s-1900s. The book begins January 15, 1831 when Kate Mortimer, the heroine, turns 16 years old. (Already we had that in common :)) 

Kate is kind, impetuous, short tempered, fun, amusing, and I wish she was my friend. She begins as a carefree sixteen year old who wishes to have more out of life. She believes she could find the fulfillment she needs in Christianity, as her mother does. 

And so begins "One Woman's Journey to Godliness," as the cover says. Kate is not a perfect saint, though she does good deeds and is definitely a godly woman. She has difficulties, bumps, in the roads, doubts, and tempers. She is extremely easy to relate to. She is a wonderful picture of the Christian life as it should be, turning to and depending on her Savior through every trial, whether big or small.

Her husband is just who I picked out for her immediately, before I even really fully knew who he was. And her rash romance earlier in the book I never liked. I understood why she was deceived, but I knew that Charley would be no good for her.

Her trials with Martha and Martha's father were sometimes  humorous, sometimes exasperating, and always interesting. 

Dr. Earnest Elliott was reserved, and sometimes I would despair along with Katy his lack of showing affection. But he truly loved her though he wasn't demonstrative. I am still rather upset that he forgot some of their wedding anniversaries, but he had a lot on his plate most of the time. 

Mrs. Mortimer, Kate's mother, was almost too good to exist. I didn't mind though, because she is very lovable. Helen Elliott was a darling and just shy of being too perfect. My heart broke for her when the tragedy happened. (I won't tell you what that is, because I don't want to spoil it for you!)

Miss Clifford was a delight, she was so sparkling, witty and vivacious. And dear saintly Mrs. Campbell who had to go through many trials and was an invalid, taught me along with Kate about some great spiritual truths. Finally, I must mention Reverend Cabot, who was with Kate throughout the journey, patiently guiding her, answering questions, and giving her a Sunday School position. His wife, also, though a very minor character, was an inspiration. 

This book was wonderful, convicting, and it answered a lot of the questions I had about the Christian walk. I can only hope by the end of my life I am half as good and godly a women as Kate Mortimer Elliott was.

This is a wonderful book, and Kate is sort of Anne Shirley and Jo March combined. So you can't really go wrong with that, can you? You must read this book. It has quickly become one of my favorites that I know I shall reread again and again.

Monday, June 16, 2014

graceful review

This book. It could have been written specifically for me. And in some ways, it was. This book is for the "good girl." It is about letting go of your try hard life. Letting go of the fear, the stress, the loneliness, the feeling of unworthiness or a need to always prove yourself and be acceptable to others. 

So if you can relate to any or all of those feelings, you may want to read this book too. (It is for teens and young women though, so if you feel you want an "older" version, there is Grace for the Good Girl.)

It is kind of ridiculous how many pages I marked but I didn't want to forget anything. Here are just some of the quotes that spoke to me and apparently others, because I found these on Google images.

Time for "Maddie getting rather personal and serious" so hold on....

So I have been awakened from my humdrum existence to the fact that God and Jesus Christ are a huge deal and I can't keep on as though they shouldn't be the center of my whole life. And changing the center of your whole life is really hard people. 

So I get a Bible. I read it. I start praying more often. I go to church weekly. I try to keep Him on my mind. But I still feel like I am not really getting it. So now what? What do I have to do? Someone give me a list. Tell me step by step what to do and I will do it! But...... it doesn't really work that way. And that's what Emily P. Freeman was addressing. 

"I said to myself, 'I am not perfect, so I'll try harder. Filled with determination and rules, I was ready to follow step-by-step to get life right, including my relationship with Jesus. I thought for sure I could figure it out if I tried hard enough, like algebra or skiing or driving. If praying to receive Jesus was the starting point and seeing him face-to-face was the end, I wasn't sure what to do in the middle. I prayed. I read my Bible. But what I did best was simply be good. I desperately wanted to experience life with Jesus, but I didn't know  how. I did what I could and hoped for the best."

After reading that quote I kind of just sat there. I mean, that is exactly how I felt and exactly what I was doing. How could she know? And what more did she know? (Cause I was assuming since she was writing this book she had that experience and I had a feeling that she came to that experience through a different channel than she was talking about here.) 

So I read on. And Every chapter she would talk about a different side of me. Some were more central to me than others, but I was all the girls she talked about in some way, whether little or big.

I was the Actress, the Girl Next Door, the Activist, the Heroine, the Bystander, the Judge, the Intellectual, the Dreamer. One second I'd feel like a punctured balloon because even the "good" things I was doing were wrong.... well not always wrong, but for the wrong reasons. 

In essence, I was doing all these good girl things to impress, to live up to, to prove myself. To achieve the expectations I thought God and people had for me and to lead to the acceptance of God the I absolutely .needed. 

Then she introduced me to the concept of Grace. Sure, I had heard of it before, but I really didn't get it. I thought I did, but I was wrong. (Not like that hasn't happened before.. ha)

No matter what I did, I couldn't earn God's grace and love and companionship. When I read this, I freaked out. A lot. WHAT?! But... but..... then what do I do?

And then she dropped a bombshell on me. Since I can't get it by myself, that is why Jesus helped me get it. Through God's grace, he sent his only son to die for me, the sins I should have died for. The pain I should have experienced. The hopelessness I should have felt. I sort of got that but then it was really explained to me. Through Grace, not through anything else, could I receive God's love and acceptance. 

That is kind of freeing and kind of scary,  because if I had steps and rules then I could get it myself. I could achieve, do good deeds, and still have some me time left, preserve some of myself. Realizing it is a gift, I could never repay Him for it. My whole life I must follow him, love him, serve him. No me time. No room for selfish wants and desires. And I am kind of becoming okay with that. 

I don't want to be a selfish human being. I really don't want to live for me. I don't want to be the heroine of the story. I am small, I am a very minor character in the story of Life. But I am loved, accepted, I am unique. 

If I get a failing grade on a science paper, I am not filled with self loathing, believing I have failed, I am stupid, I am no good. The end result is still, the same: I study harder for the next test. But the feelings, the driving force is different. 

I don't know about you, but all this was news to me. So I am working on it. I don't have a step by step list, I sort of have an outline, but mainly I just have a change of thinking and feeling. I have a change of center. 

I am not earning my redemption; I have received it and am trying to live it out.

I can't explain all the wonderfulness and graceful-ness of this book. If you relate to any of this at all, pick up a copy and read it. It is only 157 pages, it won't take too long. But it'll leave you with a lot to think about. 

Not exactly a review, is it? But I think I have told you generally what it was about, what to expect, and what I thought of it. 

Summer is so nice. I feel so unbelievably relaxed and happy.

  How is your summer? What do you think of the ideas I brought up about the book and living a life that is graceful?

Oh, and if you liked that, check out her blog. I think it is pretty great:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our Mutual Friend (1998) Review

So it has been a little while since I have seen this. I probably saw it March-April-ish so bear with me.

When I watched Dicken's Our Mutual Friend miniseries, I had not yet read the book, so at first I was really confused. Then as things became more clear I couldn't wait to watch the next episodes.

Our Mutual Friend begins with the death of a wealthy heir, John Harmon, (or whatever his name was at the time, since he changed it a lot. For this review, I am just going to call him John Harmon.) who is sailing to meet his future bride. (The only way he can inherit the fortune is to marry Bella Wilfur.)
What is supposedly his dead body is found in the river by Gaffer Hexam and his daughter Lizzy. Thus begins the intricate plot of Our Mutual Friend. There are the token creepy dudes off to find the Harmon fortune (Silas Wegg and his friend.) There is also Charley Hexam's teacher, who is attracted to Lizzy Hexam. At first I thought maybe those two would work out, but people. He is NUTS. Very weird. Very vindictive and angry. By the end everything he did disgusted me. And he really could not have loved sweet Lizzy or he would have been happy for her instead of ruining all her hopes and dreams.

There are also the Boffins, the faithful servants of old Mr. Harmon and the new heirs to the fortune. Sometimes I liked them and sometimes they were a little weird. But really, their hearts were in the right place. And for all his declared "dimness," Mr. Boffin came up with an ingenious plan to show Bella where her true priorities lay.

Bella was pretty, but selfish and rude. She cared all about herself, she complained often, and was often petulant. I did not like her. How could John have? But he did and she refused him. (I could have told him that would happen. Plus, he was kind of being stalker-ish so I might have been a little worried too if I had been Bella.) Her change was believable though and I really grew to be quite fond of her. How could she be so okay with John lying to her and keeping such a big secret from her? I would have forgiven him, but I would have been mad at first. I mean, lying about your identity is kind of a big deal.... anyway.

Eugene Wrayburn and Mortimer Lightwood were foppish. Mortimer not as much, but still. And they were bored of everything. (though I could rather understand that, "Society" is dreadful company.)

At first I wasn't happy with Eugene liking Lizzy. She kept saying she was beneath him, but honestly? He was beneath her. He put his own needs in front of hers. Except when it really mattered, he tried to do what was best for her. And he married her. What would Society think? Society be dashed! It was a great transformation for him.

Mortimer Lightwood... He finally saw the light and proclaimed the truth to society. BUT he was still back in London society when the show ended, so I am not really sure how well off he was. There was not even a nice girl in the picture. Sad, that.

Anyway, it all works out. The bad guys are punished, the good guys prevail, and the heros and heroines get their happily ever afters. (After a lot of worry and distress and SUCH a complicated plot.)

It was classic Dickens, with lots of characters, sub plots, and everyone was somehow related to everyone else. It was really good, and I enjoyed it. I found it for free on YouTube here.

And now I am going to post a bunch of Bella's dresses 'cause I love 'em. :)




Monday, May 12, 2014

Confessions, recommendations, and a quick update

A quick update since I haven't posted in a while. School is ending soon. AP exam week is upon me, end of the year tests and exams are looming their heads and I just pray I'll have the strength to make it through with something good to show for it.

Lately, the only thing that has kept me sane are books. I once again stumbled upon Francine Rivers while at my local library. I had nothing else to read, so I picked up Voice in the Wind, the first book in the Mark of the Lion series. It wasn't my usual type of book. It was set in Rome, with gladiator fights and Christians being fed to the lions. I was rather uncomfortable with some scenes in the book, but it all serves a purpose: to show the weakness and corruption of us all and the salvation that is there for those who heed and follow Christ.

I used to be really uncomfortable when people would "talk religious." That was only for Sundays. For church. Only priests and crazy zealous Christians spoke that way. People didn't have a personal relationship with an all powerful God, did they? Apparently, they do. More and more I have come to understand God is not to be put away on Sunday and brought out again with the nice Sunday service clothes. He wants me. All of me. Everyday. Why? I don't know. But I am so thankful.

So for Christmas I asked for a Bible. Since I left Catholic school, I have not been to church with any regularity. That has changed. I wonder how I never listened very well before. Church was a chore, do be done as math homework or cleaning your room. Wow, was I wrong.

Every sermon, every word hits home. That's me. Every word applies. Every word speaks to my heart. And before I would have scorned any such admission. I am a good person. Everyone says so. God must be pleased. Wow, had I got a lot to learn. I still do. Before I read the Mark of the Lion series, I feared talking of God and Jesus Christ. What would my friends and family think? I know what I would have thought. I would've been extremely uncomfortable, eager to change the subject. I didn't even want to talk about it on this blog! And on this blog I am pretty anonymous, so that is sad.

But I am here to say I am working on it. Pray for me. And whether you read this series or not, I just thought everyone should know about it. It might not have the impact it had on me, but maybe it will. So I am putting the recommendation and story out there..... This is hard. But I am glad I am doing it. I better stop rambling and publish the post before I lose my nerve.

Goodbye, lovelies! Hopefully soon I will actually have the time and energy to do a comprehensive review. Until then, au revoir!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Beautiful Blog Award

So I have again been nominated for an award! Shocking, these things are like dominoes. It seems if one comes your way, they all come your way. I am very pleased that Emma Jane sent the Beautiful Blog Award my way.
Without further ado, here are the questions and my answers.

 ~What is one of your favorite period drama lines that you find yourself quoting often?
Oh goodness. Well I think several in my head, but not out loud. No one seems to get them. And my sister always thinks I am odd when I do so. But I often find myself saying "Soary, Anne" to her in a Gilbert-like way. Just because that is so fun. :)

 ~What was the last book you read?
The Shadow Things by Jennifer Frietag. It is not really a book I usually read, so I was a bit wary at first. However, I really ended up liking it and finished it in about two days. (I could have finished it in one but sadly school got in the way...

 ~What is the best movie you've seen so far in 2014?
Um.... Frozen? I think I saw that in 2014. Or maybe it was late 2013. Oh well, it was recently and I liked it a lot. The music is fabulous.


 ~Who is one of your least-favorite period drama couples?
Least favorite? Hmm... Mme. and M. Thenardier from Les Miserables are the first to come to mind.

 ~Who is the one period drama man you can most imagine yourself marrying? (This doesn't have to be your favorite literary/period drama hero, just the man you think you would be most suited to.)
Gilbert. Honestly, I think we would do very well together. I find his sense of humor funny, he is kind, intelligent, and he is an everyday type of guy who is perfectly imperfect to me.... yeah as you can see I have never really gotten over my first big literary crush. (And now I don't think I will.)

 ~ What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?
Edwardian? 1800-early 1900.

 ~Are you familiar with the Irish music group Celtic Woman? If so, who is your favorite of the singers?
I am familiar with them. I think some of their songs are lovely but I really don't listen to them all that much. So I can't say I have a favorite singer because I do not know their names.

 ~What is one of your all-time favorite book covers?
Oh my... well I really like my Sense and Sensibility cover and my An Old Fashioned Girl cover. So I'll cheat a little and post both of them. :)


Here is a little interesting tidbit on my Sense and Sensibility: It was the first Jane Austen book I ever owned and read, and I got it for free from my libraries summer reading challenge when I was 11 or 12.

 ~Is there a specific period drama/literary character whom you often find yourself quoting?
Anne of Green Gables, for sure. I just love those books/movies. And the quotes just fit so many occasions.

 ~Is there a specific period drama/literary character whom you find yourself acting a lot like sometimes? 
Hmm. I don't think I am a lot like Anne Shirley, I wish I were more like Elinor Dashwood or Elizabeth Bennet.... I should be honest with myself and say I am more of a Catherine Morland. (But hopefully not quite so silly.) Does this mean I get a Henry Tilney? :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review of 'A Room with a View'

I mentioned a couple posts ago that I had read A Room with a View. So now here is my review of it. I hope y'all enjoy. :)

A Room with a View is a well known book, I believe it is even considered a classic.... and for good reason. I remember picking this book up last summer and stopping midway. I can't imagine why.

I saw it at the library and decided to give it a go. I am happy I did. What I thought would be a short, nice little romance turned out to be much more than that.

Along with the romance came a little satirical critique on society. Lucy Honeychurch is a young lady on a tour around Europe with her guardian, her older cousin. I found Charlotte Bartlett to be extremely bothersome. "Whatever you want Lucy..... I am indebted to your mother for sending me on this trip.... I know my company must be dull for a young girl....." Ugh. Very fake and pitiable.

I could greatly sympathize with Lucy. It is difficult to feel one thing and have to do another. To do as expected instead of what one wants. To worry always how it will seem to other people; what they think, want, do.....
And to be young enough you speak freely when in "society" it simply isn't done.

Along with Lucy I wondered over George's intentions. He is unusual and crude, but I thought he would not be a cad, as Charlotte tried to make him seem. And I was quite justified, for though he is rather odd, he turned out rather well.

I believe the minister Mr. Beebe was very wise without knowing it when he talked of  Lucy living her life with as much gusto as she plays the piano. For piano is what made her happiest and that is how she ultimately ended up living her life.

I felt rather upset with Lucy near the end of the book when she tries to run from all her problems and to lie to everyone, even herself, about her true feelings. Luckily Mr. Emerson sets her straight. Mr. Emerson says what he is thinking, and though I certainly didn't agree with all he said, I found it refreshing.

Eleanor Lavish was as awful as Charlotte but in a different way. She tried to be too different, too against society. She was not real.  She seemed very fake and shallow. That is why even though she and Charlotte are very different, they end up being friends. They are both molded by "society" and not very relatable. (Autocorrect is saying that is spelled wrong... but it gives no good suggestion... hmm, oh well.)

Cecil, Lucy's fiance, was a bore. He was fine, but nothing special, nothing real. With George on the scene, he was sad in comparison. He was boorish. He thought he was much better than Lucy. He thought of Lucy as a work of art. The women must be protected at all times. (from what?) 'Lucy must find me immensely fascinating... why don't I drone on and insult everyone and everything in my fiancee's "country" village?"


I liked her brother Freddy. He was jolly and was still young and uncouth enough to say what he thought as well. Mrs. Honeychurch was nice, but a little timid, a little too full of society. She loved Lucy and Freddy though so it was quite alright. I was disappointed that she and Freddy were so horrified at Lucy's latter choice of fiance. It is not that surprising, she did not "run off'"  with him, and they were respectably married. Ah well, I'm sure they will come to grips with it later.

Many things in the book made me think. Though it was a critique of early 1900s society, many of Forster's ideas struck me as true today. While I do not think we should all go as far as Mr. Emerson, maybe we should worry less about what society will think of us and more about what we think of ourselves. Do not be tied down to rules that do not seem right. Do the right thing, but not for the wrong reasons. These are some of the things I came up with as I was reading A Room with a View. I think it would be interesting if we all lived this way (myself included.)

Have you read A Room with a View? If so, what did you think of it? Were Lucy and George right? What are your thoughts on Forster's critiques of society?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Sunshine Award


1. Do you have a favorite spring color?
I love wearing/flowers with light pink. And if someone could get the sparkling blue of the pond in the springtime.

2. One of the most riveting books you've ever read?
Oh... um....riveting? I'm blanking. Really sorry.
3. A favorite adventure movie?
I don't really watch adventure movies. Is Tarzan an adventure movie? Because the Disney Tarzan is a cute movie.

4. Mexican, Italian, or French cuisine… Do you have a favorite?
I like Italian I guess because I like pasta, garlic bread, and pizza. Is pizza even real Italian food? Hmm...
5. Do you like shopping for relaxation or would you “infinitely prefer a book”? Or either?
I would "infinitely prefer a book." I like when I get new clothes, but I do not find the actual shopping part fun or relaxing.
6. Do you like cranberries?
Sort of.... I just tried them this year. They are okay, but would not be my first choice. They are very sour!7. Do you enjoy hiking and camping?
Sad to say.... not really.
8. Working with animals?
Yes, I love animals. I have difficulty working with them though because I am allergic to cats. :(
9. Do you ever name places? Inspired by favorite literary locations?
Yes actually, I do. Especially after I read Anne of Green Gables. The pond is now the Lake of Shining Waters. :)
10. Do you enjoy dying your hands brown in garden soil? Or do you find worms unsettling?
I planted some flowers last year.... but then I saw a worm and made my dad help with the rest. Heh...
11. A specific instance of God’s kindness toward you in the past year.
Specific? Uh... I have had wonderful opportunities to visit with friends and family in the past year. And I started blogging in February of 2013, so I have been blessed with all the online friends that blogging has led me to.

This was fun! Thank you Heidi for nominating me! I hope to get some reviews up of some books I have been reading soon. But until then... TTFN! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sunflowers and Fashions and Tags, Oh my!

So! Lots of tags have been floating around lately! I was tagged by Hamlette for the Sunflower Blogger Award. And I am also doing the Period Drama Fashion tag. So I thought I would just answer all the questions in one blog post. I hope you don't mind. On to the questions!

Here are the rules:
  1. Share 11 facts about yourself. 
  2. Answer the questions set by your Nomination Blogger 
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers. 
  4. Set questions for the nominated bloggers.
Here are 11 facts about myself you all may not know....
1) I am the eldest of my family
2)  I do not like green tea (Too earthy tasting for me)
3) I don't like Coffee (I only like the smell of it)
4) Right now my nails are painted dark pink
5) I used to have a black and white cat named Felix
6) I am reading A Room with a View right now (and quite enjoying it)
7) I have been a ring beareress at a wedding (there weren't many boys so I took the job, haha)
8) I have my ears pierced and am thinking about getting a second piercing on my ear, but am a little afraid to actually take the plunge and do it.
9) I have a teddy bear named Teddy Kent. (after Emily Starr's Teddy, you know)
10) In the same vein, I had a fish named Gilbert Blythe. I called him Gil and thought I was quite clever.
11) I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, and at this point I feel like I should... my cousin is only a little older than me and is heading off to college, seemingly knowing what she wants to do and how she will get there.

And now that you know 11 random facts about me, here are Hamlette's questions:
 If you had to spend the rest of your life in a different century of Earth's past, where would you spend it?
Oh... there are a couple I would love to live in, but if I HAD to pick just one, it would be Edwardian times in Prince Edward Island... or England.... or America. Okay, so I am not sure where, but that would be the time period. :)

What's your favorite salad dressing?
Ranch. It is actually one of the only salad dressings I actually like. Lately I have taken to putting it on sandwiches and it is really good that way, actually.

What's the worst movie (that you liked least) you saw in 2013?
Oh actually this is hard. I remember rather liking all the movies I have seen lately.

Do you paint your toenails?
Yes. Not usually in the winter though because no one sees them then. It is so nice to paint your toenails because unlike your fingernails, the polish seems to last forever.

What are your three favorite TV shows?
JUST three? Fine. But I do this under protest. I love Road to Avonlea, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Hogan's Heroes. That's quite a variety now that I look at it. :)

Are there any books or movies you own more than one copy of?  If so, what are they?
Yes. I have three copies of Anne of Green Gables, Anne's House of Dreams, and Anne of the Island. (I bought the books separately and then received the whole series from my aunt.) I also own two copies of An Old Fashioned Girl and A Rose in Bloom, and I have two copies of the movie Cinderella. (Disney's Cinderella and they are VHS tapes)

A lot of the Bloggers I follow have already done this.... so I will be annoying and say if you are reading this and you want to do it. I nominate YOU. :)

If you do this tag, here are my questions:
Chips or popcorn?
If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would it be?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Why?
Do you like Classics better or Adventure stories?
Sherlock or Miss Marple? Why?
Who is your favorite villain? Why?

And now on to Emma Jane's questions for her wonderful Period Drama Fashion week. Click on the link in my sidebar to see what she is doing for it.

1. Tell us five random things about yourself.
More random things... as Pooh would say "think think think..." 1) I don't like Ketchup 2) I have 2 American Girl dolls 3) I love oatmeal raisin cookies 4) I play the piano 5) I am allergic to cats

2. What are some of your favorite dresses from period dramas? Pick three.

3. How would you describe your own style?
I usually wear jeans and a sweater in this cold whether, with my hair in a French braid. I hope my style is cute but comfy. I wish I owned a few more skirts though.

4. List (up to) five of your favorite period drama wardrobes.
Emma Woodhouse (Emma 2009), Mary Crawley (Downton Abbey), Bella Wilfer (Our Mutual Friend 2000), Olivia King Dale (Road to Avonlea), and Izzy Pettibone (later seasons of Road to Avonlea)

5. What are some of your favorite fashion eras?
Oh yay! Okay, Regency era definitely, I love Edwardian outfits, 1950s glamour is fun, and I like the big hoop skirts of the early 1800s, but would not like to wear them.

6. What are five things that make you happy?
My puppy Ollie, reading, watching my favorite shows, tea, and hand-written letters.

7. Do you like to wear hats?
Umm... I usually don't wear hats, as my school doesn't allow them and I don't have the nerve to stand out usually. If however, I had the lovely hats Edwardian ladies did, and also was in Edwardian times, I would have a collection of lovely hats and would probably want to change them many times a day! :)

8. Do you have a favorite fictional character who has the same name as you?
No :( Sadly, there aren't really any named Maddie, or even Madeline. Emma Approved named Miss Bates Maddie Bates, but she really isn't a favorite character of mine.

9. What is one of the ugliest dresses you've ever seen in a period drama?
There are several, I know but right now I am rather at a loss.. okay, I googled it and this seemed the worst of the lot:

10. What is the most-worn color in your wardrobe?
Blue, I believe. I think I look rather nice in Blue and it is my favorite color.

11. What are your sentiments on the subject of tea?
I love it! I didn't always though. When I was younger, I did not like it. I tried it again three years ago at a tea my aunt took us to and fell in love with it. It is warm, comforting, and very British. What more could a person want?

12. Do historical inaccuracies bother you?
If they are very obvious, yes. If I don't notice them or they are very slight, I am fine with it.

13. What are some of your favorite eras of men's fashions?
Edwardian again. Yes, I really love that period. But top hats and all are nice too.

14. Have you ever read any books on historical fashion?
I read a picture book on fashions through the ages that a neighbor got me. It isn't very in-depth, but it is fun. I think I would really like to read up on it, now that I am into period dramas. So if anyone has a recommendation for me, I would love to hear it in the comments!

15. If you could pick just three fictional characters to have over for tea, who would you invite?
Philippa Gordon from Anne of the Island, the Dowager Countess of Grantham ("Granny" from Downton Abbey), and Lizzy Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. Goodness, those three would certainly make for an interesting tea party, wouldn't they?

Well these were fun to answer! I hope you all enjoyed reading them! And if you want to answer the questions yourself, feel free. :)